Pep Guardiola: Is the Munich Job a Stop-Gap Before United?

Tom White@@tomabwhiteContributor IIJanuary 17, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 28:  Josep Guardiola manager of FC Barcelona (L) greets Sir Alex Ferguson manager of Manchester United ahead of the UEFA Champions League final between FC Barcelona and Manchester United FC at Wembley Stadium on May 28, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

As has been reported (h/t The Daily Mail), Pep Guardiola has ended the speculation regarding the location of his next coaching role. At the end of his year long sabbatical, he will take over the reigns at German giants Bayern Munich, in a move widely tipped to frustrate Chelsea's trigger-happy owner, Roman Abramovich.

Abramovich has had Guardiola in his sights for some time, but the stability and the focus on youth that Bayern demonstrates through their famed academy proved to be too tempting to Guardiola. His decision was also not surprising given Chelsea's treatment of past managers.

A team containing Neuer, Müller, Gomez and Kroos (all under 28), alongside the slightly older Schweinsteiger, Lahm, Robben and Ribery (all still under 30) is a dream for any manager. Guardiola, if he stays for the full three years of his contract, will have them during the prime of their careers while simultaneously overseeing the youth who will eventually replace them. 

All is well and good. However, is all of this just training for Guardiola's next career move? And that next career move would be replacing Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

Pep has said that he wants to manage in the Premier League at some point, and there are only three places that I can see him at: either one of the Manchester teams or at Arsenal.

Arsenal may not have the huge funds to bring someone like Pep on board (or huge debt - depends on how you look at it), but they have an excellent academy, are financially well-run, and have a huge history and tradition. Plus, they play as close to the Barcelona way as any team do, apart from the Blaugrana themselves. 

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Manchester City would offer him the opportunity to build a dynasty. They are stable in terms of hiring and firing their managers, and they have the unlimited cash that Chelsea has minus the chaos. However, it has been noted that Pep isn't interested in the money. He is far more interested in infrastructure, and he wants the "financial independence" lacking at the houses that Abramovich and Mansour built.  

So the best choice for him in the future is Manchester United. Yes, the debt that they have amassed is an issue, but it is manageable. Due to a self-sustaining business built over years of continuous success, the debt has been reduced, year after year, while also leaving enough cash aside to keep United competitive at the highest level of the transfer market. They don't play as attractive football as Arsenal does, but a few years overseeing their academy could begin to change that. 

So, where does that leave Mourinho?

I think secretly he loves chaos, and I think he wants to return to Chelsea. However, I also think that he would love Ferguson to retire this season so he can walk into that jobbut he knows that isn't going to happen. He's almost certainly going to leave Madrid in the summer (probably as Champions League winners!), and his next move will be crucial.

If he comes back to England with Chelsea, would that harm his chances of landing the United job in a few years? There is no doubt that going to City certainly would. However, what I do know is that Mourinho and Guardiola will be facing each other in the Premier League at some point in the near future and, if Ferguson was 10 years younger, it would have been fascinating to see the trio attempt to rule the footballing world from within the same league. 

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